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In spite of a lot of fresh faces in the lineup, LaRue County Middle School’s baseball team has belted out 10 victories in the first 12 games this season.
“We have lots of new kids,” said second-year coach Jay Eastridge. “Six eighth graders, 14 seventh graders, and two sixth graders are on the team.”
Returning players and coach’ capsule comments:
• Tristan Waddle, middle infielder – good glove, decent speed; needs to find a way on base;
• Robert Absher, first base/pitcher – a maximum-effort kid each day;
• Mike Puckett, outfielder – good leader, plagued with ankle injury;
• Eli Williams, outfielder – tough kid, would run through brick wall if coaching staff asked that of him;
• Bryson Cobb, outfielder – very fast, runs down balls in the gap effortlessly;
• Taylor Eastridge, infielder – hard-nosed kid willing to take ground ball off the chest to make a play.
Newcomers include sixth graders:
• Dillon Bland, infield/pitcher – lays it all on the line every day; a hustle player with some good tools;
• Jaxon Boley‚ pitcher – could be a big help on the mound as he has been working hard on his game in the off season.
Seventh graders include outfield/pitcher Kane Harris who Eastridge said has a great skill set and could potentially be a five-tool player before graduating.
“We have two good catchers that are battling for a spot right now – Dane Milby and Brandon Cecil, both seventh graders,” said Eastridge.
The coach, who works at The Life Connection while he’s obtaining a degree in special education, said eighth-grade infielder Briar Holt has shown tremendous improvement through preseason workouts and has lots of upside potential as well as becoming a leader for the team.
“We have about four kids that could start at each position right now,” Eastridge said.
“The kids coming in have good, stable baseball knowledge, and are picking up the more complex aspects of the game nicely.”
Team goals are to win both A and B conference tournaments, according to the coach.
Eastridge, who graduated from LaRue County High School in 2009, played first base for the Hawks, making The News-Enterprise’s all-district and all-area teams. He also played at Lindsey Wilson College before joining the coaching staff under former Hawks’ coach Chris Price.
Will Sidebottom is LCMS’s assistant baseball coach.